By Yamin Vong
There are only two passenger car markets in the world where Honda is bigger than Toyota – India and Malaysia.
Coincidentally, Yoichiro Ueno, the MD and CEO of Honda Malaysia since January 2011 has been promoted to helm Honda’s India market and he will say his goodbyes to his Malaysian media associates next week.
In India, Honda started to overtake Toyota decisively about two years ago after a few false starts and limited by its small variety of diesel engines when India engaged its dieselisation drive.
When the Indian car market stagnated at
0.66 per cent growth in 2014, Honda grew its sales volume by 67 per cent, selling 179,000 units and accounting for 6.9 per cent of the TIV of 2.57 million units.
Toyota’s sales of 130,000 accounted for five per cent market share and behind Honda Motor corporation’s fourth rank in the India market where Maruti/Suzuki is #1.
There are a few reasons behind the success of Honda in the Indian market, beginning with the Honda motorcycle. Outside of Japan, India is Honda motorcycle’s biggest market.
Toyota also was distracted by big US recalls. Toyota’s president Akio Toyoda took the brave step of appearing before a US Congress committee in February 2010 to apologise.
The result was that Toyota decided to stop building any more new factories until this year (2016) while it consolidated and improved its manufacturing quality worldwide.
Honda on the other hand went on to develop a new 1.5 litre iDTEC diesel engine for its Amaze model. Its three top models in India – Amaze, Brio and Mobilio – share the same small-car platform.
Honda Malaysia has also won Malaysian people’s hearts. Besides several category awards, Honda’s Civic and City won the NST-Maybank overall Car of the Year in 2006 and 2014 respectively, while its small SUV, the HR-V won the People’s choice last year.
Congratulations to Ueno-san and his team and wishing him the best in India.
Malaysia car market – real good deals coming up
We understand that a car manufacturer is planning to clear 2014 stocks to make way for new 2016 models.
The models include cars in the D-segment (executive cars), C-segment (family cars) and B-segment (small cars).
Expect price cuts of up to 35 per cent which the manufacturer hopes to run out stocks of about 3,000 units of cars.
The executive sedan could be priced about RM105,000 and that could make it the best buy of the year.
Some car manufacturers have model run-out sales disguised as limited editions while others may choose instead to register their cars as loaner units for customers. But in this case, the stock is too many for either avenues to be considered and it’s better for customers that a model run-out sale is not disguised as anything other than that.
This run-out sale is expected to start next week but don’t expect any advertisements. Watch this space.
A careful owner gets good service
The following is a case about a careful owner and it reflects improvements in VW service. It’s also to do with owner attitude, positivity being a generator of better results.
I met our regular reader and he was with his VW Cross Touran. Naturally, I asked him about his car and he said he was very happy with it, so comfortable for his family of six, good fuel economy (half a tank of fuel from KL to Sg. Petani, Kedah, and cheap road tax (RM90 a year).
Chatting with Zaiddi Sabri about spectacles and lenses – his wife Hayati is an optometrist and this IT network engineer was helping out at her ad-hoc booth in NST’s Balai Berita – we got to talking about his Cross Touran which he bought in 2012 from FA Wagen, Jln 222 PJ, and had a 7-speed DSG gearbox.
Now, we know that the 7-speed DSG gearbox from the 2012-13 era has a problem with the mechatronic unit.
He said that he had taken the family to Sungei Petani (SP) for Hari Raya in 2014 and three days later, they were headed home. Just as they reached the highway, he noticed that the gear position indicator on the dashboard was flashing a spanner sign.
“It was going to be a long drive back to Kuala Lumpur and the highway would have heavy traffic. It just also happened that I noticed an FA Wagen branch in SP.
“I was not going to risk the long journey with the full load of six and luggage so I swung back to SP’s FA Wagen where I checked in with a knowledgeable service receptionist Khairul.
“In the end, we flew back to Kuala Lumpur and they kept the car for five weeks to replace the mechatronic box. This replacement was performed under the umbrella of the extended (insurance) warranty and the 53,000km car was attended to professionally and courteously without impertinent questions.
“So I’ve got a “new” gearbox and the 7-speed with the 1.4 TSI engine is fantastic.
“The next incident was about March last year. I noticed a vibration from the engine. The rpm had dropped from its normal 800 rpm to about 780 rpm.
“After a month, the engine oil level had receded a bit and there was no sign of things getting better, I called FA Wagen Jln 222 and got an appointment to attend in two days. The mileage was about 63,000km. Hayati drives the car about 30km a day.
“After going through my complaint, the car was again kept for five weeks. But this time, I got a loaner car, a Sharan, which I really liked. I didn’t mind not having the CT. This time, they found that a piston had cracked its head and they decided to change the block with a new set of pistons, again under the extended warranty.
“But I’m a continental car enthusiast and I don’t fuss when the car is kept for weeks. These experiences have made me appreciate the VW brand,” said Zaiddi.
His other cars are a Mercedes-Benz 190E (2.0) and a BMW 328i (E46). Both are maintained by his mechanic near Goodyear Court in Subang Jaya.
Zaiddi’s keen mechanical observations of the cars he drives and positive attitude towards mechanics are good traits to have especially when owning VW CBU cars with the sophisticated TSI and 7-speed DSG’s made over the years 2012-2013.
His experiences also show that the VW service, and the honouring of the extended warranty programme have improved significantly.
Indonesia’s Finance Minister Bambang Brodjonegoro on Monday called on global internet-based companies that they could have their services blocked if they do not incorporate a business entity and pay Indonesian taxes.
This will be a good step for Malaysian government officials to adopt when considering the case of the ride-hailing app Uber. Uber’s service is efficient and users love it for the value for money and clean cars.
But Uber doesn’t pay taxes on income earned in Malaysia and the government should try to level the playing field for the regular taxi drivers most of whom have to rent their taxi permits.
According to a Reuters report, some of the internet giants such as Google, have already formed legal entities in Jakarta.